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Issue 10: Let's Talk About Poop
 

Similar to honest conversations about women's health topics, it seems speaking about poop is also taboo in our society. But as a daily life function, how we are pooping is just as crucial as what we are eating.

We care about and understand what we put into our bodies, but we should also take note of how it comes out of our bodies, because understanding and being mindful of our excrement can be a way to see how the inside of our body is doing at a particular moment. 


Over the next few newsletters, we will discuss things that are commonly taboo, from poop, to vaginas, to vaginal excrements, and more in our "Let's Talk About" series. 

Feel free to send us the things you'd like to learn about your body that may feel taboo by responding with a note to this email and we will get them on our list of things to talk about. But for now, let's start from the bottom!

Pooping varies in terms of every body, but here are some general scientifically backed notes on how pooping varies in the many stages of the female cycle. 

 

 
How pooping varies during your menstrual cycle.  

Period poops—we have all heard about them, experienced them, and may somewhat fear them. But let's start by understanding them.

The reason the time of month brings a special kind of energy to your bowels is two-fold. First with progesterone levels naturally rising in the body, women can suffer from increased diarrhea or constipation. Progesterone encourages muscles to relax, so increased muscular contractions can occur during menstruation. For those who suffer from chronic bowel issues, things may feel worse during this time and may even exacerbate PMS symptoms before your period.

These hormones also decrease the body's ability to absorb water, which may lead to looser or more watery stool. 

Keep in mind that the week before our moon cycle, we may give into cravings (think chocolate and ice cream) more readily that usual, which may also lead to the increased upset tummy and gasiness associated with bowel discomfort leading up to the menstrual cycle. 




How pooping varies during pregnancy.

During early pregnancy the hormonal fluctuations the body experiences, as well as dietary changes, and the nerves associated with being pregnant may lead to increased levels of constipation or diarrhea.

In the second and third trimester, constipation can get worse due to the iron in prenatal vitamins and the intestinal tract feeling the increased pressure as the baby grows and begins to push against the intestines.

Progesterone also plays a part in making constipation worse, because although it primes the body for the upcoming delivery, it also slows the digestive tract down by relaxing the surrounding muscles. Hemorrhoids are also common during pregnancy, due to increased blood flow, and the fact that your uterus is putting pressure against your pelvic flow. Constipation also increases the likelihood of causing or aggravating hemorrhoids.

Maintaining a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy, and consuming a healthy amount of fiber and at least 8-12 glasses of water a day can keep the digestive tract moving regularly. 




How pooping varies during menopause.

As the hormones shift during menopause, increased gas, bloating, and constipation may occur. Hormone replacement therapy may aggravate these changes in bowel movements.

After menopause the body may have trouble absorbing certain nutrients, so working with a nutritionist or healthcare professional to ensure your diet is healthy and balanced is an important way to keep the digestive tract flowing, and absorb the nutrients needed during this phase of life. 




Managing female digestive issues.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to include foods rich in fiber. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your body. 
  • Exercise daily, whether it is a walk, run, or yoga session.
  • Eat foods rich in probiotics, to maintain healthy gut bacteria levels. 
  • Keep stress and anxiety levels down. Meditate, sleep, relax. 
 
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May we all find balance in our bodies, minds, and lives.
Mini Mindfulness Meditation


Meditation is not about "not thinking." Your mind is going to think, especially during these crazy times.

Instead meditation is about taking the time to sit with your breath, and gently return to it whenever things feel a bit overwhelming. Here is a quick 10 minute breath meditation to try out when you want to find a moment of calm in your day.

Guided meditation here.



Join our live zoom inner child meditation session on June 10.


Featured Female Healer: Allison Bagg

If you have been a part of the Mother Yin community since our first newsletter, you may remember the beautifully unique full and new moon photos featured at the top of each newsletter. They were a product of this creatively talented woman. Allison is a sound healer and artist based in Los Angeles, and her work is breathtaking. Her sound baths are focused on healing the body holistically, note by note. 


How do you describe your holistic healing practice to someone who had never heard of it before?

I am a certified sound healer, trained in gong, crystal and Tibetan bowls and tuning forks. I hold soundbaths, which are very relaxing, cosmic sound sessions where you are immersed in the healing tones of vibrational instruments. By bathing in these pure tones, you activate healing within your body to move and release stuck energy. I love the science behind this practice, as the studies are quite amazing, but essentially all you have to do is lay down and receive some lovely sounds! The rest happens naturally.

 
What is a typical sound bath session with you like?

When I hold a soundbath, it usually entails a bit of breathwork to begin, which helps lower the blood pressure and heart rate, and shifts the nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) into parasympathetic (rest and relaxation). This sounds kind of science-y, but basically it's just deep, focused breaths and audible sighs (which activate the vagus nerve). I always like to start by reminding people that we have a built-in healing vibration: our breath and voice! It is your medicine, and always available to you. I encourage you to make audible sighs often and loudly  maybe a HA sound or a HM - I guarantee you will instantly feel a bit more relaxed.


What is one thing you have learnt about women's health that you wish all women knew?

Advocate for yourself. Trust your intuition. Women have been told for centuries that we are "hysterical," "overreacting," that it's "all in your head." Fuck this. If you feel like something is off don't let others railroad you into not exploring the issue deeper. Don't let others invalidate your feelings. Your truth is very real and very valid. Stand strong in it.


What is one thing you wish all women knew about balancing their bodies? 

I think taking time alone to ground with your own energy and feel into your body is really important for women. We are natural nurturers and empaths, and can take on other people's emotions very easily. By taking time for ourselves, we can learn to distinguish between what is ours and what is not and shed energies and emotions we might be holding onto.


How do you find balance in your own body, mind, and spirit? 

I am an extremely sensitive person who requires lots of alone time to ground and connect. I love putting my bare feet in the grass and envision roots growing into the core of the earth. I practice TM (transcendental meditation), and find it deeply beneficial. I also go to yoga several times a week, alternating between hot vinyasa flow under infrared heat and yin classes. Without yoga and TM, I find my energy flowing up and out of my body (I'm an air sign and vata constitution in Ayurveda, after all!) which leads to overthinking, anxiety, and lightheadedness. I have to really work on grounding everyday to get back into my body, since I'm prone to shooting off into the ethereal realms. I absolutely love a bath with salts and oils and all kinds of yummy herbs and stuff. Big into tea, as well. Hot water and plants are lifesavers!​


How can women become more in touch with their bodies and hormones?

People as a whole tend to spend a lot of time in their minds, overthinking and analyzing everything to death. When I find myself doing this, I take a moment to stop, take a deep breath and ask myself where I am in my body. I then focus my breath on an area where I'm feeling tension, heat or anything else that might indicate it needs a little more attention. It's amazing what comes up when you get really quiet and explore your physical body.


What is one supplement you recommend women take everyday? 

Of course every body is different, but I have found that magnesium every night before bed helps me sleep and also helps with my digestion. There are so many amazing herbs out there, but I do believe that a healthy, balanced diet full of organic fruits and veggies is the best medicine. Sourcing local and farm fresh food is very beneficial, as it receives the same sun you do. I have read that eating food local to your region helps to balance your body. It's confusing on your body to eat food that is not locally grown and not in season.


What is one thing you wish women did less to help themselves find greater balance in their lives?

People pleasing is not an issue for every woman - but I definitely feel it is more prevalent among women than men. Standing in your worth and power by not getting pulled into other people's energy or drama, and only saying YES to things that light you up, has been a very important lesson for me, and many women I work with.


What is one piece of advice you would give your daughter? 

You are a powerful, vibrational being capable of magic. You are the universe experiencing itself through a unique lens. The world needs you!
 
 
Thank you Allison!
We want to hear from you!

Tell us what women's issues would you like to talk about. Feel free to e-mail in topics and questions so we can cover them for you in upcoming Mother Yin Issues in the "Let's Talk About" Series.
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